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5E 5e Creature Templates

cbwjm

Hero
Does anyone else use templates for creatures in 5e to (fairly) quickly create a mixed group of enemies? I've created a few and am slowly adding in more, currently I have templates loosely based on the monster creation rules in 4e for Artillery, Brutes, and Soldiers which changes the stats in a way that you can fairly easily add them on the fly.

Artillery
Artillery excel at ranged attacks and have 3 basic types, using either a ranged weapon such as a bow, a thrown weapon such as a javelin, or a ranged magical attack.
  • Artillery use ranged attacks. They gain a +2 bonus to hit (archery fighting style) and use a bow or other ranged weapon typically dealing 1d8 damage. Either use the creatures Dexterity modifier or assume a dexterity modifier of +2.
  • Thrown weapon artillery.
    • No +2 bonus to hit.​
    • Gain a +2 bonus to damage with thrown weapons​
  • Magical Artillery
    • No additional bonus to hit, but their minimum spellcasting ability modifier is +2, increasing to +5 for CR 12 or higher (i.e., +1 at CR 4, 8, and 12).​
    • No additional attack at higher levels, instead cantrip attack increases in damage.​
    • Have a ranged cantrip that deals 1d10 elemental damage per tier.​
    • Add control. Reduce the damage to d8 and add a slow effect (-10 feet) when hit.​
    • Have a ranged AoE effect useable twice per encounter which deals 2d6 (+ 2d6/tier for CR 1 or higher).​
Brute
  • Brutes are tougher than normal and hit harder than most. They are normally a bit slower than others with poor dexterity (no higher than 10 dexterity) making them easier to hit.
  • Brutes gain +3 hit points per hit die.
  • Brutes are typically easier to hit, unless wearing armour, AC is equal to 12 + tier (13 to 19), though no higher than the standard creature. If wearing light or medium armour, calculate as if their dexterity is a 10 unless it is normally lower for the creature.
  • Brutes deal more damage. Add 3 + tier level to their damage.
  • Crushing Blow. On a critical hit, the brute deals 1 [W] extra damage. E.g., a greatsword would deal 4d6 normally on a critical hit, a crushing blow will deal 6d6 damage.
Soldier
Soldiers are the front line of the NPCs having higher AC and standing before the more vulnerable artillery units. Perhaps the easiest to adjust on the fly, slightly better AC and a 1-handed weapon if needed.
  • Soldiers add a shield (+2 AC). Non-humanoids might have toughened scales or plating that increases their AC.
  • Use a 1-handed weapon (1d8 damage).
Using a basic orc as an example it changes them as follows.

Orc
AC
. 13 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) slashing damage.
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

Orc Artillery (Magical)
AC
. 13 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Greataxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) slashing damage.
Fire bolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) fire damage.
Fireball. 2/enc., range 150 ft., 10 ft. burst. 2d6 fire damage, Dexterity 12 [half].
Orc Brute
AC
. 12 (Hide Armor)
Hit Points. 21 (2d8 + 12)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Crushing Blow. When the Orc Brute scores a critical hit with their great axe, they deal an additional 1d12 damage.
Actions
Greataxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (1d12 + 7) slashing damage.
Orc Soldier
AC
. 15 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus, Shield)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Battleaxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

I also have a template called "the Branded" which I'm using for a specific part of my campaign which turns gnolls into fiery skirmishers that slowly burn up until they die in a burst of flame.
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I used to do this with 4e all the time, even had a pen and paper spreadsheet filled with quick stats for monsters of every role and level.

I started the attempt on this kind of thing for 5e a few times, but the HD stat always stops me cold, because there is no quick and fair way to recalculate HP if you actually use HD in your monsters.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I used to do this with 4e all the time, even had a pen and paper spreadsheet filled with quick stats for monsters of every role and level.

I started the attempt on this kind of thing for 5e a few times, but the HD stat always stops me cold, because there is no quick and fair way to recalculate HP if you actually use HD in your monsters.
I've played around with this as well, I've at times ignored Hit Dice because it can get in the way and used a standardised amount of hit points based on CR so that I could quickly throw down some soldiers, lurkers, or brutes. I think I only got part way through developing it and have since moved onto templates to apply to already existing stat blocks.

Thinking about it now, I probably could have done something like 8 + CR x 5 as a quick method of calculating hit points with different character types adjusting the hit points such as brutes having 8 + CR x 8 or something. I'm using hit dice for my Brute hit point calculations, but when it really comes down to it, you don't really need hit dice for monsters, you just need to know around about how many hit points they have.
 

dave2008

Legend
Does anyone else use templates for creatures in 5e to (fairly) quickly create a mixed group of enemies? I've created a few and am slowly adding in more, currently I have templates loosely based on the monster creation rules in 4e for Artillery, Brutes, and Soldiers which changes the stats in a way that you can fairly easily add them on the fly.

Artillery
Artillery excel at ranged attacks and have 3 basic types, using either a ranged weapon such as a bow, a thrown weapon such as a javelin, or a ranged magical attack.
  • Artillery use ranged attacks. They gain a +2 bonus to hit (archery fighting style) and use a bow or other ranged weapon typically dealing 1d8 damage. Either use the creatures Dexterity modifier or assume a dexterity modifier of +2.
  • Thrown weapon artillery.
    • No +2 bonus to hit.​
    • Gain a +2 bonus to damage with thrown weapons​
  • Magical Artillery
    • No additional bonus to hit, but their minimum spellcasting ability modifier is +2, increasing to +5 for CR 12 or higher (i.e., +1 at CR 4, 8, and 12).​
    • No additional attack at higher levels, instead cantrip attack increases in damage.​
    • Have a ranged cantrip that deals 1d10 elemental damage per tier.​
    • Add control. Reduce the damage to d8 and add a slow effect (-10 feet) when hit.​
    • Have a ranged AoE effect useable twice per encounter which deals 2d6 (+ 2d6/tier for CR 1 or higher).​
Brute
  • Brutes are tougher than normal and hit harder than most. They are normally a bit slower than others with poor dexterity (no higher than 10 dexterity) making them easier to hit.
  • Brutes gain +3 hit points per hit die.
  • Brutes are typically easier to hit, unless wearing armour, AC is equal to 12 + tier (13 to 19), though no higher than the standard creature. If wearing light or medium armour, calculate as if their dexterity is a 10 unless it is normally lower for the creature.
  • Brutes deal more damage. Add 3 + tier level to their damage.
  • Crushing Blow. On a critical hit, the brute deals 1 [W] extra damage. E.g., a greatsword would deal 4d6 normally on a critical hit, a crushing blow will deal 6d6 damage.
Soldier
Soldiers are the front line of the NPCs having higher AC and standing before the more vulnerable artillery units. Perhaps the easiest to adjust on the fly, slightly better AC and a 1-handed weapon if needed.
  • Soldiers add a shield (+2 AC). Non-humanoids might have toughened scales or plating that increases their AC.
  • Use a 1-handed weapon (1d8 damage).
Using a basic orc as an example it changes them as follows.

Orc
AC
. 13 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) slashing damage.
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

Orc Artillery (Magical)
AC
. 13 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Greataxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) slashing damage.
Fire bolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d10) fire damage.
Fireball. 2/enc., range 150 ft., 10 ft. burst. 2d6 fire damage, Dexterity 12 [half].
Orc Brute
AC
. 12 (Hide Armor)
Hit Points. 21 (2d8 + 12)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Crushing Blow. When the Orc Brute scores a critical hit with their great axe, they deal an additional 1d12 damage.
Actions
Greataxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (1d12 + 7) slashing damage.
Orc Soldier
AC
. 15 (Hide Armor, Dexterity Bonus, Shield)
Hit Points. 15 (2d8 + 6)
CR. 1/2
Aggressive. As a bonus action, the orc can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
Actions
Battleaxe
. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage.
Javelin. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

I also have a template called "the Branded" which I'm using for a specific part of my campaign which turns gnolls into fiery skirmishers that slowly burn up until they die in a burst of flame.
In general I love the idea and started to do something similar on another thread several weeks (months?) ago but I ran into a problem that you don't address either: CR. How do these changes affect CR. Most 5e templates don't change CR, just looking at Brute I am guessing that is not the case, but you don't give any method to modify the CR. Obviously you can figure that on your own, but that is not the point of a D&D template. Everything should be their for you. IMO, it is a useful tool, but not a template in the standard D&D sense.

That being said, I fully support the idea and like the suggested "templates"
 


dave2008

Legend
I used to do this with 4e all the time, even had a pen and paper spreadsheet filled with quick stats for monsters of every role and level.

I started the attempt on this kind of thing for 5e a few times, but the HD stat always stops me cold, because there is no quick and fair way to recalculate HP if you actually use HD in your monsters.
The HP from HD is an average. A template is modifying that average. It seems perfectly fine to me that you can just add or subtract HP in a 5e template. Heck the designers even say it is OK to using anything in the whole range when using a monster.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The HP from HD is an average. A template is modifying that average. It seems perfectly fine to me that you can just add or subtract HP in a 5e template. Heck the designers even say it is OK to using anything in the whole range when using a monster.
Yeah, but when you bump the HD given HP (or any HP really) up or down a significant amount it changes the CR.
 

cbwjm

Hero
In general I love the idea and started to do something similar on another thread several weeks (months?) ago but I ran into a problem that you don't address either: CR. How do these changes affect CR. Most 5e templates don't change CR, just looking at Brute I am guessing that is not the case, but you don't give any method to modify the CR. Obviously you can figure that on your own, but that is not the point of a D&D template. Everything should be their for you. IMO, it is a useful tool, but not a template in the standard D&D sense.

That being said, I fully support the idea and like the suggested "templates"
It's true I don't mention anything here about CR, I did think about it though. Often it wouldn't be worth worrying about a CR increase sine it won't change enough to be a problem. I did think of a couple of options though, one was to just boost the CR to the next highest, the other was a percentage increase, maybe a 25 percent increase for the brute and use that as your xp budget. It wouldn't be super accurate but it would work in a pinch.
 


dave2008

Legend
It's true I don't mention anything here about CR, I did think about it though. Often it wouldn't be worth worrying about a CR increase sine it won't change enough to be a problem. I did think of a couple of options though, one was to just boost the CR to the next highest, the other was a percentage increase, maybe a 25 percent increase for the brute and use that as your xp budget. It wouldn't be super accurate but it would work in a pinch.
I looked at compensating. So a brute has more HP and does more damage, but it is offset be the fact it has lower AC and to hit bonus. This allows the CR to remain the same. Alternately, you could revise the CR as you noted (if needed). The trick is finding the right balance. I didn't find one formula that worked across all CR ranges. I will give a try again with some of your ideas (which differed a bit from mine).
 

dave2008

Legend
Yeah, but when you bump the HD given HP (or any HP really) up or down a significant amount it changes the CR.
It could, yes. This can be resolved in one of 2 ways:
  1. Include a CR adjustment as part of the template
  2. Include counter measures in the template. If a Brute has more HP and DPR, it can have reduced AC and to hit to compensate and remain at the same CR.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I looked at compensating. So a brute has more HP and does more damage, but it is offset be the fact it has lower AC and to hit bonus. This allows the CR to remain the same. Alternately, you could revise the CR as you noted (if needed). The trick is finding the right balance. I didn't find one formula that worked across all CR ranges. I will give a try again with some of your ideas (which differed a bit from mine).
That's the problem I have, I look at the changes and have to decide if the increases in some areas are enough to warrant a CR (and increase in XP from defeating them). I think lower CRs might not need much adjustment, but if you take a creature of a higher CR that has multiple attacks and apply the brute template it could be gaining enough hit points and extra damage to need an increase. Definitely don't want to apply the templates and then realise that I made it too difficult a battle.

I'd be interested to see what work you do. I'm still in the process of looking at other roles in 4e to develop. I might also adjust some of the templates by reducing hit points for "squishy" roles in the same way as the 4e roles had artillery and lurkers that had something like 6 hit points/level instead of the 8 hit points that others had.
 

cbwjm

Hero
It could, yes. This can be resolved in one of 2 ways:
  1. Include a CR adjustment as part of the template
  2. Include counter measures in the template. If a Brute has more HP and DPR, it can have reduced AC and to hit to compensate and remain at the same CR.
I was actually thinking of removing proficiency bonus to hit and leaving it as strength bonus only. Less accurate but harder hitting. Another option was reducing hit bonus by 1 point per tier so an orc brute would have a +4 instead of +5 to hit with their great axe but deal an extra 4 points of damage when they do. A CR 19 creature (tier 4) would have -4 to hit/+7 damage. Something I will have to play around with.

Actually, just thinking about it, I could probably just subtract the proficiency bonus and then add double proficiency to damage.
 
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